You may be surprised to know that your diet during pregnancy should remain the same in basic principles. Basic principles being – get plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. However, there are a few nutrients that need special attention during pregnancy.
Prevent birth defects with folate and folic acid. Folate (a B vitamin) help to prevent some serious birth defects, such as, brain and spinal cord abnormalities and neutral tube defects. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, and has been shown to decrease the risk of preterm delivery. Before and during pregnancy, 800 micrograms of either folate or folic acid is strongly recommended. You can find folate in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dried beans and peas.
In addition to a healthy consumption of whole, nutrient rich foods, taking a prenatal vitamin will ensure you get enough essential nutrients your diet alone might be missing. If you are planning to conceive, start taking a prenatal vitamin as early as 3 months prior to conception. Focus also on consuming a lot of calcium. The benefits that calcium provide for you and your baby are strong bones and teeth and in circulatory, muscular, and nervous system function. For a pregnant woman, try to consume 1,000mg daily. Teens who are pregnant need 1,300mg a day. To find natural sources of calcium look not further than dairy products, broccoli, and kale. Another important vitamin for bone strength (both in you and your baby) is vitamin D. The recommended daily dose is 600 international units.
A commonly made mistake made by many women during their pregnancy diet is overeating. Your calories should only increase about 300 calories per day from your pre pregnancy diet. Even if your amount of meals doesn’t increase, pregnancy cravings can derail our diet during pregnancy. To maintain a healthy pregnancy diet, be aware of cravings and try to prevent them (juicing is a great way to prevent cravings).
You and your developing baby need basic dietary needs of whole foods with vitamin D, folate, and calcium to be healthy. Work with your doctor to create a pregnancy meal plan. A meal plan will help you plan your grocery shopping and meals to keep you accountable and on track with your healthy pregnancy diet. If you plan to workout during pregnancy, you may require more than the additional 300 calories to your pre pregnancy diet. Your doctor is a great resource in helping you determine this. In your diet during pregnancy, be sure all the foods you consume are nutrient rich (minimally processed and organic are best). Nutrients are what will help you and your baby grow healthily. A healthy diet during pregnancy also helps to put you in a good position to be successful in your post pregnancy diet and weight loss.